Typical Ottawa: Sens beat Caps 3-2


Photo credit: Sean Kilpatrick

The Washington Capitals started something with their first win on Sunday and sought to keep that going against the Ottawa Senators. The Caps brought a sense of coherence and confidence to their game that we haven’t seen in a long time, but the game’s back half started sagging and one bad penalty cost them everything.

The Capitals gave Troy Brouwer his second goal of the year, a net-crashing backhand set up by some hardworking hockey from Wojtek Wolksi and the Caps D-corps. Matt Hendricks deflected Jay Beagle’s wide-angle shot into the net to give the Caps a 2-0 lead. The Senators got on the board with a Condra shot deflected off of Jim O’Brien. Milan Michalek tied it up with a tricky backhand off the faceoff that eluded Neuvirth. Former Cap Sergei Gonchar got the game-winning goal on an undeserved power play in the games final minutes.

Sens beat Caps 3-2.

  • The Caps were on a roll in the first period. They played strong possession hockey (even-strength shots were 13-6) and savvy defense. It was their strongest period in months– perhaps their best since the Boudreau era. It didn’t last. The third period saw scarcely any even-strength shots.
  • Joel Ward had a bad time with late-game penalties last spring, but he didn’t deserve the repeat of it tonight. The high-sticking penalty is not supposed to be applied when the stick is following through on a shot or pass, but that’s exactly what happened– called by a distant zebra.
  • Alex Ovechkin‘s first shot on goal came in the third period, a long bomb from center ice. The captain’s other cotnribution to the game was a slashing penalty with the score tied in the third. I don’t think you can chalk that up to his grinding linemates  in Jay Beagle and Joey Crabb.
  • Actually, Ovi did attempt The Move, then fell, and then bowled into Senators goalie Craig Anderson. Ovi wasn’t penalized, and I’m not sure he’s even physically capable of embarrassment.
  • To be fair, Ovechkin nearly had a perfect repeat of his PPGWG from Sunday late in the game, the shot nudged away by Anderson. That was typically B.A. A.O., but I’d like to see alot moar of it.
  • I love Sergei Gonchar. We’re happy to see him contributing to his team, but not like this. Not like this, Sergei.
  • Hey, here’s a rule I’m still learning: concealing the puck. Nick Backstrom got called for it early in the first, turning a piping hot power play into a tepid four-on-four. Two power plays were neutralized in the first period– the second was when Kyle Turris was called out for pratfalling on a mild infraction from Mathieu Perreault.
  • Can we talk about Big John Erskine? I’ve been dying to talk about John Erskine. Guy got oodles of ice on Tuesday. He hauled his grizzled behind around with some alacrity, laughed off a dance invitation from Chris Neil (whom he could have eaten, digested, and returned to the game once he used the facilities), and even helping out with one monster (blocked) shot.
  • Not hockey: did you read our story on Wes Johnson? Really moving stuff.
Joe B suit of the night

Joe B suit of the night

I’m not really sure what to make of this one. You’re gonna have to help me out.

The Capitals played one or two fantastic periods. The hockey they played in those first two periods could beat most teams in this league, but the third was lacking in offense and made it all too easy for Ottawa to even it up.

The game-winner from Gonch? That’s just what happens when games are officiated by humans. I guess we’re supposed to keep our chins up and hope that bad calls will one day swing our way as well, but bitterness outstrips benevolence right now.

C’est la vie seems like the wrong notion, particularly after a loss in French Canadia. This is a short season, and every point is a bit more precious as a result. The Capitals played winning hockey (or at least OTL-ing hockey) and still came out losers.

So what do we make of that?


  • zank

    caps got hosed on the late call, but that not entirely why they lost. only played 38 minutes of hockey tonight.

  • imaguest

    it’s ridiculous, everything, and why are we playing one of the most skilled players in the NHL with Joey crabb and jay beagle.

  • Colm

    I assume you guys are brutal because you love– and especially on Ovi– but man, it’s just no fun to read these. I used to always get a sense of optimism out of RMNB, but not so much anymore. Hopefully the Caps can give you some better material to work with soon.

  • 28IS(still)GREAT

    This loss would have been acceptable if we hadn’t dropped as many as games as we have already. You can’t fume against bad calls (which are expected) when you start the season with bad play (which is never expected). We’re leaving points on the table, and that’s gonna come back to haunt us big time a month down the road.

  • I honestly feel like there’s a pretty short memory for what it was like for the Caps to adapt to a system last year. This is actually going faster than it did last year, in my opinion (which is good, it has to if they’ll make the playoffs).

    I think what we’re seeing when it is clicking is incredibly encouraging. Take that from it, because if we’re lucky that’s a glimpse of what the team will be.

  • SCANDAL X 1000

  • Dave

    The link for high sticking actually states, “However, a player is permitted accidental contact on an opponent if the act is committed as a normal windup or follow through of a shooting motion.” Are we sure that applies to passes? I have no idea.

    Also, when Ovi crashed into the goalie, it looked like he was pulled down by the defender. Maybe could’ve been a penalty the other way.

  • 8yo

    Why is Ovi crashing the net embarrassing? I know he didn’t score and he hasn’t done that much lately but old Ovi rushes like that one are the things that we want to see from him again!

  • Yv

    The Adam Oates task is simpler this year then before. Ovi scores – Caps wins. So he need to do everything possible to accomplish this formula. Playing with 4th liners maybe not a solution.

  • Ovi didn’t play great, but you do have to give props to the turnover he forced, that lead to a breakaway, that lead to a penalty. That was the Russian Machine I am used to.

  • Holy_Cal

    Ovechkin isn’t producing. That’s the problem, everyone is playing like a bunch of bottom 6 forwards and energy guys. Backstrom stinks. It’s a problem that we have no top line who can score and be trusted defensively.

    What needs to happen is GMGM and Teddy need to fly to Chelyabinsk and throw money at Kuznetzov until he breaks his contract. We need youth and skill, like mtl has with Galchenyuk and Buffalo with Grigorinko. No one can replace Semin, and I believe that’s the biggest issue… That and our captian is injured, Brooks needs to come back ASAP.

  • I have a theory about why Ovechkin is playing with Crabb and Beagle. It’s a cool strategic move on the part of Oates. Here’s the thing … no matter who is on Ovie’s line, the opposing team will throw their best defensemen against it. So put Ovechkin with a couple of 4th liners to draw the best defense against them, leaving the other three lines with lesser defense to challenge them. I think we’re seeing that play out well especially with the line of Chimera, Ribero and Ward.

  • Schultz (not Jeff)

    That first period was great, and hopefully its AOats Hockey. Good to see them picking up the system quickly, according to the radio call, much quicker than Jersey did. Same time, we need to see signs of life from two of the best players in the league, albeit, AO has lost a step, but still. I feel better about the progression, but the above guy is right, we’re gonna miss these points. Also refs in Canada can suck it.